Midem Launches African Forum 2019

Midem, the home of the global music community, today announced the second edition of its African Forum.

Midem’s 2019 African Forum will begin on April 9 with a tour of three key African music cities – Dakar, Douala and Lagos, and culminate in a dedicated day on 5 June during the annual Midem conference. Following the success of the 2018 African Tour, which took place in Johannesburg, Lagos, Abidjan and Brazzaville, Midem returns to Africa for the second edition of this focus on the region’s music market. Maleek Berry, Afrobeat’s sensation, artist and founder of Berry’s Room, Nigeria, will be the African Forum Ambassador.

Despite the African continent’s tremendous influence on music genres across the world, most African countries are not yet significant markets in the international music industry. In total, they represent less than 2% of the global music market. But today, the situation is changing. Digital technology now enables artists, labels and the associated music industry to efficiently reach a large and ever-growing number of consumers across the continent, while simultaneously facilitating the export of local artists.

The African markets, with their diversity and cultural wealth, possess huge potential but still have multiple challenges to overcome. Through its long-term High Potential Markets Programme, Midem is contributing, as a member of the international music community, to the creation of bridges connecting the African territories to the rest of the world. The Programme also supports the structuring and professionalisation of music markets in Africa.

The 2019 African Forum will be shaped by the experiences and insights offered by the inaugural edition. Following last year’s programme, which visited South Africa, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Republic of the Congo in April 2018, Midem published an exclusive white paper devoted to the music business in Africa, highlighting key findings of the roadshow and interviews with industry experts.

During last year’s workshops, one of the ideas that emerged as a common and continent-wide solution to the challenges faced in the region was the creation of a pan-African guild representing and promoting music rights’ holders across Africa. This would provide a forum for cross-border discussion within the music business community and be capable of lobbying at an inter-governmental level. Such a guild could create links with existing achievements in the UK, France, Canada and South Korea, where the governments have already understood why the creative industries are critical to a nation’s economic prosperity. As Midem Director, Alexandre Deniot explained, “Creating value for the artist and the region’s heritage in monetary terms should be a priority.”

Midem’s African Forum sets out a range of clear objectives. It provides an opportunity for the international music community to meet African music professionals and artists. This will enable the fostering of connections between African and international professionals. The Forum will host international players interested in growing their presence in Africa, encouraging their participation in the structuring and professionalisation of the African music industries. Alexander Deniot is eagerly anticipating this second edition, and said, “My discussions with African executives since the launch of the Forum in 2018 have been an inspiration. I’m excited to pursue them and to develop the conversation with music communities in Dakar, Douala and Lagos this year. It is essential for us to put the spotlight on the immense African creativity and entrepreneurship, especially when I’m convinced the next “Despacito” will come from Africa…”

Ambassador Maleek Berry has produced for some of the most exciting artists today, from Davido to Wizkid, Jidenna and Ycee, he is perfectly placed to deliver a Q&A session during the African Forum at Midem. This will take place in Cannes in the afternoon session on Wednesday, 5 June. During the Q&A, Maleek Berry will discuss his experience and international development. He will also share his vision on the growth of the African music industries and the opportunities and challenges faced by African artists in the continent and beyond. He is looking forward to his role as Ambassador and explained; “I’m excited to be taking part in Midem this year, especially to be leading a talk for the African Forum which will put a spotlight on the market back home as well as the UK where I’m based. We’ll have real conversations about the business and finding your truth.”

Partners of the African Tour are Access, Algam, Brandit, Bimstr, Cream, Enspire, Music in Africa, Sankar, Spotlight, Synamurca and 6060 Music Group.